Despite strides toward equal treatment under the law over the past century, Latinos (including those who identify as Hispanic, Latinx or Latine) across the country face ongoing discrimination. This Latino Heritage Month, Relman Colfax celebrates the history and culture of Latino communities in the United States and honors the many contributions that Latinos have made to advance racial equity and social justice. Relman Colfax renews its commitment to fighting for racial justice and inclusion, and reflects on three of our landmark cases:
Challenging Discriminatory Tenant Screening Practices
In 2023, the firm secured a judgment against an affordable housing marketing agent that manages the application and selection process for City-assisted affordable housing units in New York City. The complaint alleged that iAfford’s policy of categorically excluding applicants with a record of criminal legal involvement from the affordable housing units in its portfolio disproportionately bars Black and Latino applicants’ access to the affordable housing units it markets. This case emphasizes that access to affordable housing opportunities is critical for formerly incarcerated individuals—who are disproportionately Black and Latino—to be able to rebuild their lives, reintegrate into society, and contribute to their communities.
Holding Mortgage Lender Accountable for Predatory Lending Practices
In June 2016, the firm secured a major victory on behalf of Black and Latino borrowers who had been exploited by a New York-based mortgage companies’ predatory loan program. Over the course of a five-week jury trial, our attorneys presented significant evidence that Emigrant targeted Black and Latino families in Brooklyn with grossly unfavorable loans. Considering this evidence, the jury found Emigrant liable on all counts. In a written opinion on August 30, 2018, Judge Johnson upheld the jury verdict and agreed with plaintiffs that a waiver of claims provision that prevented two plaintiffs from collecting damages was void. This case shows the power of the nation’s civil rights laws to hold financial institutions accountable when they violate civil rights and to make lenders think twice before taking advantage of vulnerable communities.
Fighting for Affordable Housing for Black and Latino Families
In Brookline Opportunities LLC, et al. v. Town of Brookline, N.H., et al., we continue to litigate claims that a New Hampshire town discriminated on the basis of familial status, race and national origin—in violation of the Fair Housing Act—when they resisted the development an affordable “workforce housing” development that would attract Black and Latino families. The Town is 93% White and has very little rental units. The case is expected to go to trial in January 2024.
If you have experienced discrimination because of your race/ethnicity or national origin or the language you speak, feel free to contact us by clicking here.